In Any Given Town Near You From A Wider Sky (2015)

This scene might happen today in any given town near you:

In front of each person within your vision is an enormous rectangular block of cement. You have a block of your own, and it’s wider and taller than you are.

When you have a chance to stretch and peek out from around your block, you find that you’re not able to see those around you. Your vision of them is completely obscured by those big rectangles. Some people are partially hidden by their blocks. Others are completely invisible. You feel that you might have to take a short hike to actually reach them, as their blocks stretch quite high and wide.

Then you notice that on the other side of each rectangle is a screen. You have a screen too. Only you can see your screen; only they can see theirs. But every now and then, you spot someone turn their big block of cement towards those around them. If it’s too large to move, they’ll call others to come around and see. The others will laugh, and for a moment there seems to be some kind of unfamiliar interaction between human beings. But the weight of the block re-consumes the full focus of the person who has shared their screen, and they are back to being hidden.

Seemingly out of nowhere, a car crashes into one of the wide blocks of cement. The block topples over the person behind it, who is left trapped underneath. A few others abandon their blocks and begin to lift the heavy weight off of the injured person. Still others stay with their blocks and capture what can be captured, for saving and sharing later. For all is saved and shared through the mighty block.

You are too far from the crash to be there, but it does intrigue you. You move far enough away from your block to forget about it for a few moments. You examine the scene closely, realizing “accident” is not the correct term for what has happened.

As you return, you notice your block has shrunk. You can pick it up and hold it in your arms. You feel a sense of control, even confidence, that you’ve missed for some time. Many others who were shaken by the crash are holding their blocks too, now observing each other and conversing.

Seemingly out of nowhere, you feel happy.

About John J Mannion

Hi! I'm John. I'm rebelling against the mini-bio that tells a little piece of a little piece of the story.